Aaron Brown leads 58-person team for NACAC track championships
Athletics Canada announced the 58 athletes who will be representing Canada at the 2018 North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships on Wednesday.
The team is comprised of 29 women and 29 men, who will compete in 39 of the scheduled 42 events.
The regional track and field meet will be contested at Varsity Stadium in downtown Toronto from Aug. 10-12 and will be streamed live on CBCSports.ca.
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"Athletes and coaches alike know how special it is to compete at home," said head coach Glenroy Gilbert. "Being able to showcase your talent in front of a home crowd is an athlete's dream."
Aaron Brown is one of the highlights on the men's team; he won two gold medals at the 2018 Canadian Track and Field championships. He also ran a personal-best 19.98 seconds in the 200 metres earlier this season at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway.
"I remember being at the Pan American Games, I saw a lot of familiar faces in the crowd, including people that I grew up with," said Brown.
"It's fun to be able to run in a world-class meet in front of family and friends. That's what I'm looking forward to the most, but I also want to come out with a win."
Other standouts on the men's side include Justyn Knight, a two-time NCAA champion this year in cross country and indoor 5,000, and Gavin Smellie, who ran a personal-best 10.01 seconds in the 100 at Windsor, Ont., in May at age 32.
Andre DeGrasse will not be competing this year after suffering a season-ending hamstring injury.
The women's team is headlined by Brittany Crew, a three-time national champion in the shot put.
"I missed out on the 2015 Pan American Games. I sprained my ankle, so I didn't hit the qualification mark before the deadline," said Crew.
"I'm excited that the NACAC championships are in Toronto this year. My mom can't make it out to a lot of meets, especially international meets, because she can't travel. She will be there in Toronto cheering me on; that's going to be special for the two of us."
Alysha Newman, who won pole vault gold at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, is also on the team.
After running a personal best to win the women's national 800 this week, Lindsey Butterworth is also on the squad.
New look team
Out of the 58 Canadian athletes chosen, only seven competed in the 2015 NACAC championships that were held in San Jose, Costa Rica.
"We have selected a group that features a mix of veterans and new comers to the national team program, which will provide our athletes an international platform to practice our 'performance on demand' approach," said Gilbert.
"With next year's World Championships in Doha and the Olympic Games in less than two years, the NACAC championship will provide an exceptional competition opportunity for our athletes. It will also give coaches and our core staff direct access and the opportunity to evaluate where we need to be better overall to achieve success in the coming months and years."